In the past week there has been a lot of birds on offer at RSPB Titchwell, over 130 species in fact!!

With friends visiting at the weekend, I spent Sunday birding the reserve and with a little effort ended the day with 102 species, and that even includes missing several passerine species!

Car park / visitor centre

Starting at the car park and visitor centre area there are small numbers of siskins, bramblings and lesser redpolls flying overhead with the odd one dropping into the trees. This week has also seen the arrival of a few redwing, again they are mainly flying over the reserve, so it is worth listening out for their distinctive ‘tseep, tseep’ flight call. On Friday 8 October, a hawfinch was heard and seen flying over the reserve and on Sunday a tree sparrow flew along the east trail, this a quite a good bird for the reserve as there is only a small population clinging on in this part of Norfolk. It is certainly worth learning your bird flight calls at this time of year as you never know what you might find flying overhead. 

There has been a noticeable passage of jays moving through with 41 counted on Sunday and looking over towards Titchwell village, two cranes were sighted on Sunday drifting eastwards.

Reedbed

Within the reedbed, the bearded tits have been showing well for visitors when the wind drops, and the bittern was spotted along one of the newly cleared channels. The channels have also been playing host to several grey herons and a flash of blue from a kingfisher is becoming more common. On Patsy’s reedbed 132 little egrets were counted into roost on Wednesday 13 October and a Sunday 10 October a cattle egret spent the afternoon on the pool, great white egrets are also being sighted regularly.  Marsh harrier numbers are building and there is ringtail hen harrier continuing to roost within the reedbed.

The odd sedge warbler, reed warbler and swallow have continued to linger around the reserve but they will soon be gone for the winter. 

Over 10,000 starlings have been roosting in the reedbed with a pre-roost forming on the Freshmarsh creating a small starling murmuration, the rosy starling remained with them until Monday 11 October.

Freshmarsh

The Freshmarsh is full of birds currently with over 1000 golden plover roosting and bathing on the edge of the newly formed bunds, plus 250 lapwing, 59 bar-tailed godwits, 259 black-tailed godwits, flocks of shoveler, gadwall, wigeon and teal. On Monday 11 October two Sandwich terns snuck in amongst the black-headed gulls.

In the evening several Caspian gulls and yellow-legged gulls have been joining the large number of lesser-blacked gulls and black-headed gulls that are come into roost in the evening. Tucked amongst them is also a Mediterranean gull or two.

Volunteer / Tidal Marsh

High tide on Monday, a red throated diver drifted on to the volunteer marsh, providing amazingly close views of this species, that can normally be found on the sea at Titchwell.

The high tide roost on the tidal marsh this week had 7 greenshank, 166 oystercatcher, 32 grey plover, 19 turnstones, 76 Knot and 48 redshank.

Beach / Sea

The star birds on the beach this week have been the arrival of two purple sandpipers and a snow bunting. Also spotted on the beach have been small flocks of sanderling and the odd spoonbill.

On the sea there has been a steady passage of gannets and common scoter. Other species spotted on the sea this week have included red-breasted mergansers, gooseanders, arctic skua, long-tailed duck, sandwich terns, a great northern diver and several red-throated divers. And, on Saturday 9 September a black-necked grebe spent some time on the water.

Several guillemots and razorbills have also been close in and a few have sadly been found on the beach dead. All along the east coast from Scotland southwards, dead guillemots are being washed up and their cause of death is unknown but it is being investigated. We advise you to not to pick up the birds but to leave them where they are.

 Hopefully that has provided you with a flavour of what is about and where at the moment if you are planning a visit to RSPB Titchwell.

Purple sandpiper, Les Bunyan

Report your sightings

If you are visiting why not enter your sightings on to BirdTrack. Your records support species conservation at local, regional, national, and international scales. For more information follow the link https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/birdtrack

And finally...

Our guided walks have returned.

The ‘Discover Titchwell’ walks provide you with a brief overview of the history and wildlife of the reserve and our guides will explain how the RSPB is working to protect our wetland wildlife at Titchwell.

For more details please follow this link https://bit.ly/2W2ml7l

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